Liber Novus: A Modern Foundation Stone

“The mysteries and themes contained with Jung’s Liber Novus are no less than spiritual treasures. It begins with a quote from Isaiah regarding the birth of a child who shall be known as Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. The origins of this child are as humble and dismissive as the origins of Alchemy, which is a practice of finding that which is most precious in places where one would least expect it. In this instance, it is within the darkness of our inner self within the landscape of our own dreams and visions.”

Beyond the Soul’s Meridian June 25, 2017

“THE YEARS OF WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU, when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life.  Everything else is to be derived from this.  It began at that time and the latter details hardly matter anymore.  My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me.  That was the stuff and material for more than one life.  Everything else later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life.  But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.” –  Carl Gustav Jung, 1957

In Carl Gustav Jung’s biography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” he discussed a time in his life when he experienced a series of inner visions which culminated into a mysterious writing.  This mysterious writing was never released to the public during his lifetime.  This work is referred to as “Liber Novus” or “Red Book” which was a culmination of three books written over a period of 25 years.  In its final draft, it is in a handwritten calligraphy, loving illustrated, and bound in red leather.  Jung placed it in a vault and showed it to only his closest confidants.  It was eventually published in a translated and annotated form in October 2009.  Although it remains a curiosity to many, it is not the first nor the last time that inspired vision has been conveyed to a person in such fashion.  It should come to no surprise to anyone familiar with Carl Jung’s work, that what he experienced was indeed “archetypal” to a timeless process innately connected to the acquisition of spiritual wisdom.  This method is the foundation of Western mysticism and intrinsic to the practice of Alchemy.

The nature and importance of this process remains a closely guarded secret.  In the past, it was available only to those persons who swore an oath of secrecy and allegiance to an organization or group that parsed out this information in a very limited fashion.  Furthermore, the organizations that inherited this information lost the ability to fully understand it.  Today, their function is essentially to prevent people from gaining access to it.   Although the Red Book is now widely available, it is (for the most part) down played by the auspices of our society’s institutions.  Even though it would be far easier for us to ascend both personally and collectively by contemplating this information, it is marginalized and remains mostly a curiosity.

Be that as it may, this work remains instrumental within the transformational challenges that now lay before us.  As a work of Alchemy, it must be understood on an individual basis, meaning that it cannot be fully comprehended in a superficial and therefore egotistical fashion.  One must do the work to read it, invest the time to meditate upon it, and possess the will to know it.  But even that is not enough because furthermore, one must have the grace of experience itself.    For many, the Red Book can serve as a catalyst for vision.  For others, a validation of their own truth.  There is clearly a magical-hermetical-spiritual principle that this work invokes.  I have always look upon it not only as an archetype, but a modern prototype for the process within all of those who are seeking higher knowledge.  Liber Novus will function as a catalyst for others who will eventually have their own experiences and will write their own books which will enhance the Great Work of consciousness ascension.  For anyone who is observant, it is obvious that we are now within the midst of a global transformation through an expanding awareness catalyzed by many voices through various artistic expressions.  What links these expressions together are healing impulses of love, compassion, and a deep concern for all of life.  Again, this transformation is not just for our isolated consciousness but for the entire biosphere.  Both are inseparable.  Some have gone so far as to state that what is happening on our world is affecting the entire universe.

In an essential essay written by “Anonymous” (which was later attributed to the visionary Valentin Tomberg) from his Meditations on the Tarot, he discusses the importance of ascending our consciousness which in the end allows us to write our own book. (1)  He equates this process to God which is manifested within the Hebrew name given to God “YHVH” written as יהוה and pronounced right to left YOD-HÉ-VAU-HÉ.  It is important to understand that the letters have tremendous symbolic meaning.  YOD is described as essence or the supreme spiritual principle.  Tomberg called it spiritual touch or intuition and states that it is:

“…that which permits contact between our consciousness and the world of pure mystical experience.  It is by virtue of this that there exists in the world and in the history of mankind a real relationship between the living soul and the living God — which is true religion.  Mysticism is the source and the root of all religion.”


The four letters of YHVH are known as the Tetragrammaton and is the summation of the entire Qabalistic Tree of Life.  Tomberg states that the YOD is the spiritual principle and the embodiment of mysticism.  The first HÉ represents gnosis also known as understanding and the receptive soul principle. It is this interaction between the spirit and soul which produce the child of this interaction known as magic. VAU represents magic.  The second HÉ is the summation of that which has been revealed.  This is equated to Hermetic philosophy which is a healing practice.  Hermetic philosophy is symbolized by the Caduceus which is the sign of Hermes and is widely recognized as a healing sign.

These four principles are expressed within the Arcanum of the “High Priestess” which is High-Priestessthe foundation that our transformational experience is based upon.  One of the major fundamentals of Jung’s work was discovering the feminine principle of God.  In fact, he emphasized this to the point where he believed that the salvation of the world solely depended upon it.

Within esoteric teaching one of the most essential of all axioms is simply “As above, so below.” This summarizes the macrocosmic to microcosmic relationship that exists between the physical and the spiritual where our soul is the mediator.  This concept is so essential that we find it within the Lord’s Pray as it is stated “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”  This passage referrers to the Ascension of the world into a Heavenly state when humanity’s soul is collectively resonating in truth as we become aligned to our individually ordained pathways.  This is within the process of healing which is innately related to the process of becoming whole.  For this process to occur, we become whole and completed which means that we must acknowledge that part of us which has long ago become obfuscated from our consciousness.  The truth is that there are elements within us that are blind and mute and are impatiently waiting for our consciousness to remember that they exist.  As Jung’s essay on Healing the Split he states:

The concept of “physical matter” stripped of its numinous connotation of the “Great Mother” no longer expresses the vast emotional meaning of “Mother Earth.”  It is a mere intellectual term, dry as dust and entirely inhuman.  In the same way, “spirit” identified with “intellect” ceases to be Father of All.  It degenerates into the limited mind of man, and the immense emotional energy expressed within the image of “our Father” vanishes within the sands of an intellectual desert. 

 Through scientific understand our world has become dehumanized.  Man feels himself isolate in the cosmos.  He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events which, hitherto had a symbolic meaning for him.”

These issues are also reflected within ourselves which we must come to understand.  Again, the first HÉ of the Tetragrammaton conveys to us “understanding” which has been hidden from us.  This is the essence of “gnosis” which simply means an understanding of our inner self.  For most of us this remains a dark aspect to our conscious self.  Just as nature hides her secrets, we must also understand that our true self is a resonance of this principle.  Until we can shine the light of understanding within this realm it will continue to act as a force towards our own destruction.

220px-Vecelli,_Tiziano_-_Judith_-_c._1515Within the Red Book there are significant interactions which play out in the visions between Jung’s conscious masculine self and his dark feminine hidden self which manifests to him as the biblical temptress Salome.  She is also identified as the daughter of the prophet Elijah which further links her to John the Baptist.  Initially she is blind, but through a transformation she gains sight.  Jung eventually recognizes Salome as his soul which he is intimately linked to through a bond of unconditional love.  Jung comes to understand that Salome is an element of himself, his feminine principle which he must become unified with.  This unification of our opposing natures is an essential principle of Alchemy and Gnosis.

The supreme validation to Jung’s achievements came within the connection to the long-lost Gnostic codices which again emerged into the public consciousness towards the end Nag_Hammadi_Codex_IIof his life.  These scriptures are known as the Nag Hammadi codices.  Discovered in 1945 in Egypt, they miraculously escaped the hands of the Vatican.  Photo copies of these writings began emerging in 1951 with translations becoming available by the middle part of that decade.  It must be appreciated that these scriptures would have been impossible to comprehend without the gnostic insights conveyed to us through Carl Jung’s work.  Today, many people can clearly see that Carl Jung’s work was inspired by the truth of these writings even though these scriptures were unknown to the world until after his work was completed.  This strange synchronicity also confirms the reality of what Jung had established long beforehand regarding human thinking and the Collective Unconsciousness.  All thought is collective.  Despite the Gnostic genocide and efforts by Hierarchy to wipe off the face of the earth everything Gnostic, this information survives simply because the essence of this process is based upon universal truth engraved within our hearts.

Jung’s work outlines a pathway to wholeness which is a universal constant.  Again, in the “anonymous” writings of the Tarot, it states:

Each mode of experience and knowledge when pushed to its limit becomes a sense or engenders a special sense.  He who dare to aspire to the experience to the unique essence of Being will develop the mystical sense or the spiritual touch.  If he wants not only to live but also to learn to understand what he lives through, he will develop the gnostic sense.  And if he wants to put into practice what he has understood from mystical experience, he will develop a magical sense.  If lastly, he wants all that he has experience, understood, and practiced to be not limited to himself and his time, but to become communicable to others and to be transmitted to future generations, he must develop the Hermetic-philosophical sense, and in practicing it he will “write his book”

“… For the whole human being is at one and the same time a mystic, a gnostic, a magician, and a philosopher, i.e. he is religious, contemplative, artistic, and intelligent.

What lays before us are too many wisdom sources to count whether ancient, New Age, canonical, non-canonical, Eastern, Western, Innerterrestrial, or Extraterrestrial. Yet all of it is impossible to fully understand unless we can become knowers of who and what we truly are.  First and foremost, Carl Jung was a physician who gave us the tools to begin our spiritual journey.  Time and again, I have seen many friends and colleagues marginalize if not bypass all together this most critical step in becoming familiar with the interactions and energies of our universal inner self.  Certainly, we can continue to fish around for a shorter pathway, but in the end, it all reduces down to the alchemical principles that his work ultimately embodies.  Whether one reads the Red Book or not, the alchemical process that this work embodies must be respected.  Jung called this the process of individuation, which is simply breaching into a new state of consciousness beyond Ego life and into the wisdom of our hearts.  Within this pathway are the processes of Ascension and Unification.  We will find it nowhere else.

Furthermore, it must be understood that in the end personal vision must take place.  Eventually, every individual must come to artistically express what they have gained through spiritual vision.  This expression ultimately contributes to the Great Work that is now at hand.  Jung called this inspired endeavor active imagination, which we must become engage in and is virtually any artistic process which ultimately connects us to the spiritual realm.  This is what is meant by writing our own “books.”

The mysteries and themes contained with Jung’s Liber Novus are no less than spiritual treasures.  It begins with a quote from Isaiah regarding the birth of a child who shall be known as Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.  The origins of this child are as humble and dismissive as the origins of Alchemy, which is a practice of finding that which is most precious in places where one would least expect it.  In this instance, it is within the darkness of our inner self within the landscape of our own dreams and visions.  One has the sense that Jung would have preferred to keep these visions to himself and essentially that is what he did, as the majority of the Red Book was never published during his lifetime.  Yet he was also compelled to find an outlet to his visions which became the inspirational source of a great body of published work that emerged through this experience.

Who-is-PhilemonWhat little of the Red Book that was published during his lifetime was called “The Seven Sermons to the Dead” and was attributed posthumously to the Gnostic Scholar “Basilides.”  The Seven Sermons to the Dead was a limited publication that was never sold, but personally distributed to friends and colleagues.  Although it might seem strange not to claim authorship, in esoteric wisdom traditions it is not uncommon to attributed great works to the source which inspired them.  Generally, it is a beloved teacher who is still instructing the pupil from beyond the physical realm of life.  Within Liber Novus, Jung is schooled by a higher being known as Philemon (ΦIΛHMΩN) which is the name of the being who gives the Seven Sermons to Jung.  Although the correlations are not directly made, it is quite possible that Philemon and Basilides are one and the same which again is not an uncommon concept with wisdom teachings; as it is understood that Adepts have incarnated into this world numerous times under different names and human manifestations.

It is quite interesting to note what others believe of Philemon and who or what hepitcher actually was.   Some claimed that he was a demonic entity.  Others a figment of Jung’s imagination as he was going through a psychotic break.  In the end, like in any vision or dream, the only valid interpretation must come from the person who has experienced it.   Jung believed that Philemon was a being of higher intelligence that was not himself.  The origins of Philemon come from the being referenced from Ovid’s mythological account in Metamorphoses (Book VIII).  Within this story, a wise, modest, and pious couple named Philemon and his wife Baucis encounter the Gods Zeus and Hermes disguised as wayfarers who were unable to find shelter by any of their wealthier neighbors.  Only the humble Philemon and Baucis provided hospitality and shelter to the wayfarers and soon realized that they were indeed gods.  Later, they were saved from a great catastrophic flood and became priest and priestess to their home which was turned into a temple.  After a long and productive life, they were granted the privilege to die at the same moment while being transformed into trees.

In Goethe’s Faust, these beings again appear but as victims of a horrible crime which Jung felt to a high degree personally responsible for.  In Act V of Goethe’s Faust, a city is being built from land that is reclaimed from the sea (a new Atlantis).  The home of Philemon and Baucis is on this land which Faust felt needed to be moved.  Faust appeals to Mephistopheles for help in moving Philemon and Baucis’ home, but instead Mephisto razes it to the ground with both beloved teachers trapped within it.  This is not just a mistake made by Faust but a metaphor for all modern scientists who have driven out of their soul, land, and the new scientific construct built upon it, the wisdom and spiritual intuition that once thrive within it.  As Jung stated:

I have taken over Faust as my heritage, and moreover as the advocate and avenger of Philemon and Baucis, who, unlike Faust the superman, are the hosts of the gods in a ruthless and godforsaken age.” (2)

Perhaps even a greater insight as to who Philemon truly was came from Rudolf Steiner in a lecture about the Schools for Adepts in the Past, given on March 7, 1907.   In this lecture, he describes a process of spiritual mentoring which is almost identical to Jung’s Red Book experience.  Within this discourse he discussed the Mysteries of the Spirit, Son, and Father.  As Rudolf Steiner states:

A time is coming when no other authority will be recognized than one that people accept voluntarily, one whose power is based on voluntary trust.  Those mysteries founded on the power of the Spirit are called the Mysteries of the Spirit.  Those that will be based in future on a foundation of trust, on the power of trust, are called the “Mysteries of the Father.”  We will conclude our culture with those Mysteries.  This new impulse, the power of trust, must come; otherwise we are heading toward a splintering, toward a universal cult of the self and egotism.”

Furthermore, Steiner proclaimed that this transformation must occur through an intrinsic process that is spiritual and archetypal.  In fact, the Mysteries of the Father are essential in preparing for this transformation to occur when ultimately “…all human beings will find their deepest being, Atman, spirit body, within themselves.”  Yet we cannot accomplish this by ourselves.  The Universe is designed so that if we desire to move forward in a positive direction, we can only do so through the grace of another. This is what is meant by living a life dedicated in service to others and why Jesus stated that His yolk is sweet and His Burden is light.

Ultimately, Rudolf Steiner saw this transformational process from its deepest perspective and beyond a point where Carl Jung was perhaps able to fully surmise. It must be concluded that this is a universal process which transcends our modern concept of earthly life.  As Rudolf Steiner states in the same lecture:

From another side we now want to seek an explanation of what it means to say that the Mysteries of the Father are coming.  The teachers of the ancient Atlantean adept schools were not human beings, but rather beings higher than human beings.  They had completed their development on earlier planets.  And these beings who were present from earlier planetary evolutions taught a carefully selected, small band the Mysteries of the Spirit. On special occasions in the Mysteries of the Son, Christ himself appeared in person as teacher, as did a teacher who was not a human being but a god.  Those who become teachers of the Mysteries of the Father will be first to be teachers and human beings.  Such human beings who have developed faster than the rest of humanity, will be the true masters of wisdom and harmony.  They are called the Fathers.  With the Mysteries of the Father, the leadership of humanity will be transferred from beings who have descended from other worlds into the hands of human beings themselves.  That is what is significant.”

Ultimately what ties all of this transformational knowledge together is an alchemical mystery which is inescapably connected to the teachings of Jesus and the embodiment of Christ.  Rudolf Steiner saw this as the universal human pattern that will guide those who freely choose it through a transformational process “with the greatest possible individualization.”  Jung comes to the same conclusions by having experienced the Mysteries themselves.  Both were walking the same path and working with the same energies while experiencing them from different vantages of consciousness.

Just as the Red Book begins with the invocation to the transformation of Christ through Isaiah’s prophecy, so does it conclude within the spirit of ascension through the embodiment of these mysteries.  In the end, we find Jung in a garden within the presence of Philemon and Christ represented by a “Blue Shade” as Philemon states;

You are, Oh master, here in the world of men.  Men have changed.  They are no longer the slaves and the swindlers of the Gods and no longer mourn in your name, but they grant hospitality to the Gods.”

Slowly but surely, we are transforming and are now moving into an elevated state of consciousness which mirrors that of Philemon and Baucis.  Through this transformation, the old Gods have become reborn.  This is an elemental theme within the Red Book, in the sense that our concept of God must be destroyed so that we can clearly see what “God” actually is — as we will come to discover that it is an entity that not only resides within us, but is part of us.

As far as the extraterrestrial mythos and its connection to the whole story, it is beyond the time to take it out of the closet.  Steiner clearly states that we have been mentored by beings who evolved on other worlds.  The overwhelming body of evidence supporting the existence of intelligent life beyond the confinements of this earth is undeniable to anyone who has the capacity to freely investigate the matter for themselves.  Jung also wrote a thesis specifically regarding the UFO mythologies and concluded that something profoundly spiritual was connected to them. (3)

One of the more interesting themes within these mythologies is how the ascension of higher evolved beings (gods) is karmically entangled to our outcome.  Again, another reflection of macrocosmic-microcosmic relationship of “As above so below.”  Our higher evolved cousins (and anyone else who has tampered with the evolution of this planet) cannot ascended unless we too can transform our consciousness into a higher state of awareness.  For me, the most astonishing correlation of the Red Book is to the universal Law of One which Jung cites within his work decades before this information was channeled and became widely known. (4)  One cannot help but think that universal impulses were being channeled through him if for no reasons other than his extraordinary intuitions and his truthful dedication to healing.

Anyone who is looking for a ray of light or a glimmer of hope within the chaos of what we have been conditioned to observe, should seriously consider this work.  Ultimately, we must be able to see beyond the dark hierarchical energies which are vying for our attention, generating fear, and feeding off our soul’s energies.  Without inspired sources such as the Red Book, the future looks bleak.  This fear is serving a purpose by conditioning those in greatest need of its message against this form of truth.  The results of this conditioning are barriers to enlightened knowledge constructed through fear and ignorance.

Yet the conclusion to the Red Book conveys to us that the world will indeed transform, along with those souls who have freely chosen to ascend along with it.  As we are moving now into an ascended level of consciousness it is becoming obvious that God is within us and that we are indeed individuals of great unique importance and universally One at the same time.

Jung’s Liber Novus is truly a remedy to help dissipate the overwhelming fear that has paralyzed so many.

As Jung concludes:

The Old Gods have become new. The one God is dead — yes, truly, he died.  He disintegrated into the many, and thus the world became rich overnight.  And something also happened to the individual soul — who would care to described it!  But therefore men too became rich overnight.  How is it possible that you did not know this?  The One God became two, a multiple one, whose body consists of many Gods, and a single one whose body is a man and yet he is brighter and stronger than the sun.”




(1) Anonymous (Valentin Tomberg), Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, translated by Robert Powell, Jeremey P. Tarcher/Penguin, 1985

(2) C. G. Jung, C. G. Jung Letters 1: 1906–1950. Edited by Gerhard Adler in collaboration with Aniela Jaffé, translated by R. F. C. Hull, London: Routledge, 1973, pp. 309–10.

(3)  C.G. Jung, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, Princeton University Press, 1978

(4) C. G. Jung, Liber Novus, Liber Secundus, “The Three Prophecies”, “From the flooding darkness the son of the earth had brought, my soul gave me ancient things that pointed to the future. She gave me three things: The misery of war, the darkness of magic, and the gift of religion. If you are clever, you will understand that these three things belong together. These three mean the unleashing of chaos and its power, just as they also mean the binding of chaos. War is obvious and everybody sees it. Magic is dark and no one sees it. Religion is still to come, but it will become evident. Did you think that the horrors of such atrocious warfare would come over us? Did you think that magic existed? Did you think about a new religion?How can I fathom what will happen during the next eight hundred years, up to the time when the One begins his rule?  I am only speaking of what is to come.”

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